LE MANS 24 HOURS 1958

21st - 22nd June

55 starters 20 classified finishers

Fifteen hours rain three of which were torrential, a bad summer solstice. Thirteen accidents, one fatal. First ever success in the Le Mans 24 Hour race by an American and a Belgian driver. Third win for Ferrari whose 250 TR took over the lead in the third hour. The Jaguar challenge collapsed and Aston Martin ran out of steam. A. C did even better than in 1957 finishing in eight and ninth places. After their 1957 rout the Italians took their revenge as Osca also won the Index of Performance. Judged too young Ricardo Rodriguez was not allowd to start. His brother, Pedro, teamed up with Jose Behra, Jean's brother, Jean himself being at the wheel of a Porsche. During practice a certain Graham Hill set the fifth fastest time in a Lotus XV. The start was given by Mr. Chaplain, the Le Mans deputy mayor.

CIRCUIT :

L13, 461 kms. Unchanged

REGUlATIONS:

 

Cubic capacity limited to 3 litres as required by the C. S. I in its appendix "C". Driving time increased from 36 to 40 consecutive laps, total time remaining at 14 hours. Minimum ground clearance fixed at 13 cms and maximum turning radius at 12 metres. Pushing cars outside the pit lane forbidden.

STARTERS:

55 cars 4 nations 16 makes

France: 4 D. B. s, 4 Panhards, 1 V. P. Renault.

Germany: 5 Porsches.

Great Britain: 2 A. C. s, 4 Aston Martins, 5 Jaguars, 2 Listers, 6 Lotuses, 1 Peerless, 1 Tojeiro.

Italy: 2 Alfa Romeos, 11 Ferraris, 2 Maseratis, 2 Oscas, 3 Stanguellinis. Makes,firstappearance:

Drivers, first appearance:

SUMMARY:

Bore reduced (90 mm instead of 106 mm) and smaller carburettors for the 5 D - Type Jaguars and 2 Listers. However, the reduction to 3 litres destroyed the engine's legendary reliabilty. The 10 Ferrari Testa Rossas were fitted with 3 litre engines giving a reputed 300 bhp. Only Rodrigeuz and Behra drove a 2000 cc model. The 2 new Lotus XV s were again Coventry Climax powered, a 2 litre engine for no. 26 and a 1500 cc unit for no. 35. Two of the three Porsche RSK Spyders had a new four cylinder 4 overhead camshaft engine. Alfa Romeo was back with 2 Giulietta Zagato Coupes powered by 1300 cc engines. The D. B. s were fitted with modified Panhard power units (hemispherical combustion chambers). Distribution by 4 overhead camshafts on the same engine fitted in the Monopole.

The Jaguar engines were ill - adapted to the fuel supplied by the A. C. 0 and expired one after another. By 18hOO, 3 D - Types were already out and as dusk fell another was eliminated in a collision with a Ferrari in the Dunlop Curve. Its driver, the industrialist from Lyon, "Mary" Brousselet was killed and the American, Bruce Kessler, badly burned. At midnight however, Duncan Hamilton's privately entered Jaguar occupied first place but when he crashed out shortly before midday on Sunday after hitting a stationary competitor who had spun at Arnage, it was the end of the Jaguar challenge. In fact, the Halford - Naylor Lister - Jaguar's fifteenth place was the only Le Mans finish of the 3 litre version of the Jaguar engine. All the works Lotuses, except one, were eliminated, mainly, through accidents. The sole remaining Aston Marlin finished a proud second, the third Le Mans second place of the marque after Moss had led at the start in the DBR 1. Behind came 3 Porsches led by the Jean Behra - Hans Herrmann car. The D. B. s won the battle opposing them to the Monopole marque from Champigny. All the A C. s and Oscas made it to the finish while the little - known Peerless came home in sixteenth place. Only twenty cars were classified, the high casualty rate being certainly due to the bad weather.

RECORDS:

For the fourth consecutive year Mike Hawthorn was the quickest driver on the track but his lap time of 4'08" was well down on his 3'57"7 of the previous year. It was the same thing for the distance as Gendebien and Hill covered around about the same number of kilo metres as the fifth - placed finisher in 1957. Again, the wet conditions were mainly, responsible for this discrepancy.

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Author: ArchitectPage

Ferrari 750
Ferrari Testa Rosa
DBR1 Aston Martin